It’s often been written that Tolstoy abandoned fiction post Anna Karenina for more in-depth self discovery and non-fiction literature. I would argue that nothing could be further from the truth but while pondering that very question, I began to wonder; do writers eventually abandon their fictional start for non-fictional notoriety?
Fiction, non-fiction, literary, creative, critically acclaimed, these are all words used to describe an art form whose true value can only be found in the mind and soul of the person it touches. The only true stakeholders are the writer and the reader. However given today’s fictional winners, stories of vampires, and chicks who gossip, etc. . . ., is fiction immature? John M. Riley wrote, “A writer has several lives . . .,” He goes on to describe the second life as autobiographical. The
first, if you are a writer of fiction, is that world which we construct from
I have been writing fictional short-stories for some time. I’m very happy when my six hundred or so readers enjoy what I’ve written but it never fails; new readers will often comment on the honesty of the stories. I submit, with the exception of my “Phorest” writings, there is absolutely no truth in what I write. I write fiction. But what if there’s another writer, that second life yet to be born? As writers do we toy around with fiction, hinting at little-known truths with the eventual being our rebirth, our leap into non-fiction? How many fiction writers would love to be recognized more for their non-fictional prose than their fictional ones? Would that make us more accomplished? With fiction, are we testing our talents until general acceptance allows us to move on to better things; better things being non-fictional thought. Another consideration, perhaps hidden in our fictional characters is those truths we hide from our audience. I’ve often said, “Writers write because “it” (whatever it is), has to get out.” Perhaps it’s easier to hide our flaws in our fictional characters than to expose ourselves to judgment if penned via non-fiction. Eventually, hopefully, we realize that it’s ok to write our opinions about the world, or share our fears, our loathing for our existence here on earth. And isn’t that what maturity is about?
I’m wondering if other writers of fiction, RB Clague, Dixon Rice, Jay Parinni and Tiffany Harmon (all great writers), are fiction enthusiasts for life or if they are still maturing, waiting for a time when it will be safe to pen the greatest story
ever, their own! I’m just wondering.
- How to Live Safely in a Non-Fictional Universe: Charles Yu’s Top 10 Books Read in 2010 (omnivoracious.com)
- Mixing Fact and Fiction (litlove.wordpress.com)